The Sword is the leader of all the weapons, it has a long history in Martial Arts in China. In fact, we can’t identify where the sword originated. Practicing the sword is not only aiming at martial defence, it is also a practice for mind control and physical health. This is divided into two kinds of sword practicing, Internal Sword and External Sword. External Sword is more strength and speed. Internal Sword is more softness and slower. Normally we practice Tai Chi Chuan based on the 10 essential points, (Ed note - see the next article), and this applies equally when practicing the sword movements.
The basic sword movements are composed of 13 different movements: slashing, scraping, snapping, chopping, piercing, stabbing, throwing, swinging, whipping, penetrating, scooping, raising and circling. When we perform the movements, they must be more like the dragon flying in the sky. The posture of the movements should be softness and hardness, stillness and motion which contains the theory of the Tai Chi:Ying and Yang
How to practice the sword properly: The excellent sword movements are depended upon the strength of the wrist, it is an important part when practicing the sword. If you need to improve the skill, it is important to do some wrist exercises, such as twisting the wrist, turning the wrist with the fist, moving the wrist up and down and then relax the wrist. All these movements can increase the strength of the wrist. After these, we can do the wrist exercises with the sword.
The next is the fingers movement, we have to understand the different way to grip the sword is for different movements. Normally, when moving the sword, you only grip the sword with three fingers: thumb, index finger and middle finger, third and little finger stay next to the middle finger. Until the movement is going to stop or start to do some hard movements, the fingers are gradually held firm, such as stabbing or fa jing. After this the fingers are returned to release the strength softness.
The co-ordination of the movement is very important, it means to put the spirit into displaying the movements as of being of one, if not unified the sword movements and the body will be hard to get he power and balance… The lower limbs are a most important part to make the movements firms and powerful, that must be through correct lower limbs, craning, the sword dance should be very graceful.
The sword finger is an essential movement in the performance, it can help the sword practitioner to concentrate the mind and balance of the body. The body of the sword should be spiritful and energised. The evaluation of the sword is to follow by the eyes to show the direction of the movement. If the tassel twists around the sword or the hand, that means the movement is not correct or the wrong strength is used.
Generally if you want to get a good result in the sword practicing, you must have a correct foundation of Tai Chi Chuan, you have to totally concentrate the mind, body, the movement and the internal strength all in the sword. Concluding all the points, we are really practicing our internal energy to combine with external environment together as like the Tai Chi symbol.
Kam Lau Fung